Huge Emergency Aid Package, Tighter Restrictions on Gatherings

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel is ramping up its response to the financial crush caused by restrictions on travel and business, along with stricter social distancing, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ said on Monday evening.

Netanyahu announced that the government has approved an 80-billion-shekel economic aid measure to help Israelis get through the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking after Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon offered hope that the economy will begin returning to normal after Pesach.

“We won’t let the economy collapse,” he said.

In another preventive measure, businesses that were operating with 30% of their staff in office will now be required to reduce to 15%.

At the same time, Israelis are being called on to adhere to even more stringent limits on movement. People will no longer be able to gather in a minyan of 10 people, even in open spaces, which was permitted until now while shuls were closed.

Chasunos will be limited to the immediate family; 20 for a levayah, 10 for a bris milah. Leil HaSeder should be confined to the immediate family, no guests, he said.

Acknowledging that the regulations are onerous, he said, “These restrictions save lives. We are helping you.”

The restrictions are expected to be voted through by the Cabinet later on Monday night.

“We don’t know what the next day will bring,” Netanyahu said, “But with the help of Hashem, we’ll overcome the coronavirus.”